First Chinese woman astronaut sent into spaceJun 17, 2012 - 12:13 -
WAM BEJING: China on Saturday launched Shenzhou-9 -- China's fourth manned space mission- into space sending its first female astronaut into orbit and bidding to achieve the country's first manual space docking.
On board Shenzhou-9, the three person crew - including the first female taikonaut - launched at 10:37 UTC on Saturday onboard the Long March 2F/G, from the 921 Launch Pad of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
The first Chinese woman in space Liu Yang, 33, is joined by commanding officer Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang, who has been selected as an astronaut trainee since January 1998, according to China's Xinhua news agency.
Main tasks of the Shenzhou-9 mission include the manual docking procedure conducted between the Shenzhou-9 and the orbiting space lab module Tiangong-1.
After the launch, Shenzhou-9 will be initially inserted into a parking orbit, before raising its orbital parameters to a near circular orbit with an altitude of 330 km. The spacecraft will take two days to get near Tiangong-1.